Black Death plague warning: 124 DEAD and hundreds infected as ‘killer outbreak spreading’
A DEADLY outbreak of bubonic and pneumonic plague, which has been attributed to the Black Death, has killed at least 124 people with health officials warning “the number of cases is growing”.
The death toll from Madagascar’s plague outbreak has reached 124 with a total of 1,133 infected, as it rapidly spreads through the African nation.
More than 50million people in Europe were killed by the Black Death in the 1300s, which many historians believe was caused by several killer diseases including the pneumonic plague.
Most of the victims recorded in Madagascar have been infected with the highly contagious pneumonic form. The bubonic variant is considered less dangerous.
Health officials have warned “the number of cases is growing” despite claims from the Madagascar government there has been a decrease.
The plague has fatality rates of 30 to 100 per cent if left untreated and the pneumonic strand is transmitted person to person by air, making it more difficult to control, according to the World Health Organisation.
Elhadj As Sy, secretary general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said: ”The number of cases is growing by the day.
“Our volunteers are working in communities convincing people to seek help.”
The WHO has said the current outbreak is unusual because it has affected urban areas increasing the risk of transmission.
Olivier Le Guillou of the Action Again Hunger charity also said: “We have not yet reached the peak.”
The Madagascar government insists there is a decrease in cases based on the number of people admitted to hospital.
Manitra Rakotoarivony, a Madagascan health ministry official, said: “There is a decrease in the number of people admitted to hospital and an increase in cured patients who leave hospital.”
Earlier this month the WHO announced it was “rapidly scaling up its response” has it issued to emergency funding the devastated nation.
Dr Charlotte Ndiaye, a WHO Representative in Madagascar said: “WHO is concerned that plague could spread further because it is already present in several cities and this is the start of the epidemic season, which usually runs from September to April.”
The WHO has delivered 1.2million doses of antibiotics to fight the disease while the Red Cross has been training hundreds of volunteers in preventative measures.
It comes as earlier this month, experts warned the disease could one day become an epidemic in the US.
US doctor Peter Small, a clinician trained in infectious diseases who has been working in Madagascar for several years, told Newsweek: “We have plague cases every year out west.“
The only reason we have cases and not epidemics is because we invest in a public health system.
“However, if we continue to underinvest in public health, those cases could become epidemics here in the US.”
Madagascar has suffered plague outbreaks almost every year since 1980, typically between September and April.
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